Samsung announced Wednesday its acquisition of Logan, Utah-based YESCO Electronics, LLC, a manufacturer of LED signs and displays. The terms of the deal have not been publicly disclosed.

It's an interesting market development, and it brings home the difference between the true direct view LED market and the increasingly confusing flat panel LCD market that features many manufacturers referring to LED-backlit LCD panels as "LED displays". At the end of the day, LCD is LCD, and LED is LED.

Sanju Khatri of market research company IHS offered AVNetwork this analysis late yesterday:

This acquisition clearly reinforces Samsung’s strategy of incorporating direct-view LED video display technology into their existing product mix to seamlessly cater to both indoor and outdoor digital signage applications.

In February at Integrated Systems Europe 2015, Samsung introduced a 1.1 mm pixel pitch LED video display for the high brightness indoor market, with the product set to be released in 2016. With the acquisition, Samsung has immediate access to YESCO’s LED video product lines, and most importantly, to the company’s existing technical support and servicing capabilities.

Additionally, in terms of product line up, there seems to be a complementary aspect to this acquisition. While Samsung’s focus is on sub 2.0 mm high density pixel pitch products that better aligns with their outdoor LCD products, YESCO has traditionally been an outdoor player, with products starting from 6.0mm pixel pitch.

Selling, marketing, installing and servicing LED video products requires a different set of experiences and logistics which Samsung currently lacks and will need a considerable amount of lead time to develop. Unlike large format LCDs, LED video displays do not come in pre-defined sizes. Rather, each vendor has their own configurations for modules consisting of LED lamps or chips, which are then tiled to form a larger custom sized display for individual clients. External processors, content management software and controllers are then added to engineer a total solution for clients.

Needless to say, LED video displays cannot to be sold, marketed, installed and serviced as an “out of the box” large format LCD product. There is a considerable amount of pre-sales and post-sales service and system integration required. Through YESCO’s acquisition, Samsung is now in a position to offer this to their intended target markets in the United States.

So what does YESCO get out of this deal? First of all, the direct-view LED video market is rife with competition from low-cost companies mostly based in Shenzhen, China. Smaller local companies such as YESCO have been particularly hit by such competition, while premium brands such as Daktronics, Barco, and Mitsubishi are able to maintain revenues due to their reputation in the market. Samsung provides YESCO and its customers the credibility of a global multinational brand.

In summary, this acquisition seems to provide a symbiotic relationship for the two companies. It will be interesting to see how Samsung leverages this partnership to gain a foothold outside of the US and in the global arena.

Sanju Khatri
Director, Digital Signage
3975 Freedom Circle | Suite 300 | Santa Clara, CA 95054, USA
Phone: +1 408 654 1713 | Cell: +1 408 310 3540
sanju.khatri@ihs.com
 
Here is the original press release from Samsung:

Samsung Electronics Expands Digital Display Portfolio with YESCO Electronics Acquisition

Acquisition strengthens Samsung’s entry into LED display market to meet growing market demand

SEOUL, Korea – March 3, 2015 –Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. today announced its acquisition of Logan, Utah-based YESCO Electronics, LLC, a leading LED sign and display manufacturer with more than 2,000 installations across the U.S. and abroad. The acquisition reinforces Samsung’s entry into the LED display market, extending the reach of the company’s pioneering technologies and expertise beyond large-format displays (LFDs) using LCD panels, where the company has been the worldwide market leaderfor six consecutive years.[1][1]

YESCO Electronics was a subsidiary of the Young Electric Sign Company (YESCO), a privately-owned custom sign manufacturer.

“As the market for LED display technology continues to grow, we understood the critical importance of having the right experience to be successful in this area,” said Seog-Gi Kim, Senior Vice President, Visual Display Business, Samsung Electronics. “By combining the extensive expertise of YESCO Electronics in LED displays with our global network, business experience and world-class R&D team, we further validate our leading position and the value that we bring to our customers as a total solutions provider in digital display.”

In light of the accelerated implementation of LED displays that offer enhanced picture quality, energy efficiency and operational functionality, Samsung will work with YESCO Electronics to deliver durable, long-lasting displays geared for varied and extreme conditions. YESCO Electronics’ proven successes include large and brilliant sign and display execution in many of the markets Samsung serves, including retail, education, hospitality, corporate, and transportation environments.

“The solid relationship between Samsung and YESCO will strengthen YESCO’s position in the marketplace,” said John Williams, CEO of YESCO Electronics. “This acquisition expands the presence of our services and systems across Samsung’s vast global network, allowing a wider range of businesses to offer their customers a more impressive, eye-catching visual experience. YESCO Electronics will offer a broader range of world-class products to the customers as part of the Samsung Team.”

Founded in 1988, YESCO Electronics has enjoyed a rich tradition of successfully delivering both large scale and boutique projects worldwide.

To learn more about Samsung Electronics and its complete B2B display portfolio, visitwww.samsung.com. For more information about YESCO Electronics, visitwww.yescoelectronics.com.

About Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd.

Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. inspires the world and shapes the future with transformative ideas and technologies, redefining the worlds of TVs, smartphones, wearable devices, tablets, cameras, digital appliances, printers, medical equipment, network systems, and semiconductor and LED solutions. We are also leading in the Internet of Things space through, among others, our Smart Home and Digital Health initiatives. We employ 307,000 people across 84 countries with annual sales of US $196 billion. To discover more, please visit our official website at www.samsung.com and our official blog atglobal.samsungtomorrow.com.

About YESCO Electronics, LLC

YESCO Electronics, LLC, is a leading manufacturer of high quality electronic displays and is a former division of the Young Electric Sign Company (“YESCO”), which has been a family-run business since 1920. YESCO operates a full service custom sign manufacturing business offering creative design, engineering, leasing, financing, and maintenance agreements. YESCO owns and operates its own network digital of billboards, as well as 1,800 traditional billboard faces in the Western United States. YESCO has a sign and lighting service franchise network throughout North America. YESCO, a 94-year-old family business, will continue to sell and integrate the latest LED technology from Samsung. We will offer a broader range of world-class products to our customers.

For more information about YESCO electronics, LLC, visit www.yescoelectronics.com